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The Frog who wouldn't a Wooing Go. Rhymes and Jingles by Mary Mapes Dodge for children

Ye gentlemen far, and gentlemen near,
And ladies fair, and children dear,
Come, list to the mournful tale—heigho!—
Of the frog who wouldn't a-wooing go.
Once on a time, when nations were few,
And whether the world stood still or flew,
Nobody cared and nobody knew,
A respectable pair,
By name of Gluck,
Lived in a pool
On the Isle of Muck.
Oh! very blest were this pair of frogs,
Their lot was cast in the softest of bogs.
Mrs. Gluck had an exquisite voice,
Their sky was serenest,
Their puddle the greenest
That ever bade heart of a froggy rejoice.
But of all the blessings that came to this pair,
Most precious of all was a son and heir,
With the widest of mouths and the loveliest stare—
Their brisk little polliwog,
Hearty and hale;
Their own little frisky one,
All head and tail!
Ah! never were parents so happy as these,
Though their child, to be sure, wouldn't sit on their knees.
And this, let me say, was a very bad sign,
Though they didn't perceive it
And couldn't conceive it,
For it proved that he didn't to duty incline.
Well, the days flew along, and their child grew apace,
Till at last a fine form came to balance his face;
And his legs grew so fast they seemed running a race.
Completed at last,
With his garment of green,
Just the handsomest froggy
That ever was seen,
He said to his mother: "Now, madam, I'm blown
If—ahem! I should say, I am perfectly grown;
So in future I'd wish my own master to be,
Though I thank you most kindly
For loving me blindly."
(Such airs in a youngster were dreadful to see!)
"O son," quoth his mother, "you fill me with pain!"
And she sobbed and she sighed with her whole might and main,
And called to her husband in desperate strain.
"Pooh, pooh!" said old Gluck,
"The youngster is right,
So let him alone, ma'am,
Or you and I'll fight.
And, hark ye, my son, I have noticed of late
Yon puddle attracts you. Tis well. Find your mate.
The Gungs, as a family, seem to adore you.
Select your own waters,
Take one of the daughters,
And leap into life like your father before you."
Alas for young puddledum! Proudly he scouted
The sire's good advice. He sulked and he pouted,
And the Gung girls, in turn, every one of them, flouted.
"What, choose me a wife!
Does he think I'm a fool?
No, my motto for life
Is: one frog to a pool.
Shall I yield up my freedom—be tied to a log?
Not I, by my jumps!" quoth this prig of a frog.
"Miss Gung, sir, for all I'll prevent, gug-a-loo!
May sing till they carry me,
'No one will marry me,
Nobody, nobody's coming to woo!'"
I must tell you; old Gluck, with his puddle so fair,
Was known by the banks as mud-millionaire.
So, young Gluck (who you know, was his first son and heir),
Soon set up a team
Of sleek water-rats,
And covered his head
With the brightest of hats;
Then, with a phaeton and footman or two,
He drove forth to dazzle, to awe and subdue.
Oh! glum was his face, his heart icy cold!
And the seat of his car,
Though too wide by far
For one single frog, not another would hold.
But when did the heartless, disdainful, and flat
Live on, unrebuked by this world's tit for tat?
And why did our frog trust his fate to a rat?
One day, as he drove,
There came forth to stare—
Kingfisher and Duck—
A most comical pair.
The first was the proudest that ever was seen,
For the rod in his hand was the gift of his queen;
But the other—ah! never did duck so expand;
Yet strut as he could,
And strain as he would,
Poor Quack, for the life of him, couldn't look grand.
Yet he took it amiss that his efforts were lost
To thaw with his splendor that armor of frost
(For our frog quite disdained any duck to accost),
And loudly he shouted,
"Come back, sir, come back!
You're spoiling our road
With your zig-zagging track,
Come back, or yon man, with his cat-o'-nine tails,
Will be after your team, till you whistle like quails—
Great Neptune! If there ain't the mischief to pay!
Just as sure as I waddle,
Or swim, dive, or paddle,
Those rats of young Gluck's are a-running away!"
Too true. They had heard the duck's dreadful appeal—
A cat with nine tails! why, the thought made them squeal.
And they ran for their holes, with poor Gluck, neck and heel.
But whether he lived,
Or whether he died,
Or whether the rats
Managed safely to hide,
Or whether his parents e'er saw him again,
Or whether Miss Gung always waited in vain,
'Neath her lily-pads green, for a lover, or no,
Are things that belong
To the rest of my song
Of the frog who wouldn't a-wooing go.
Oh! moan, ye winds, by the green pool's brink!
And quickly, ye Glucks, in the deep mud sink;
Prepare all the dregs of affliction to drink!
The pride of the puddle,
Breath of thy breath,
Lies low in the marshes,
Fainting to death.
Oh! weep, poor Miss Gung! for there never shall be
In thy home of the lilies a lover for thee.
Thy sun goeth down with never a glow,
He hath frowned on thy fate,
On thy maiden estate,
And the one whom thou lovest is lying all low!
Ha! what is this coming? what wreck do they spy?
What driverless rat-steeds are these rushing by?
"Our child!" cried the mother; "oh! fly to him, fly!"
These words to old Gluck,
And that mother fell dead;
She had burst with her grief,
And the vital spark fled.
Then madly in search leaped that father bereft,
And wildly those goggle-eyes peered right and left;
Till at last, where the bank lay a little aslant,
He saw his son lying,
Apparently dying,
For all he could do was to quiver and pant.
"Oh! leap, little Eng" (this, Gluck said to his latest,
A froggy half-grown), "bring of doctors the greatest,
And look to thy speed, that thou never abatest.
Bring Tightskin, or Squatt,
Or my cousin Paff-Puff;
But don't bring them all—
One doctor's enough.
O horror! he fails! Be quick, Eng, be quick!
His eye-balls are sinking! his breath's growing thick.
Either Tightskin or Squatt will be better than Paff—"
But Eng never heard,
He had left at the word,
Bound, of course, for the third of that medical staff.
"Oh! look at me, son! Oh! lift up your head!
And don't lie so limp, for you fill me with dread
For pity's sake, hear me. Your mother is dead!"
"Dead!" gasped Master Gluck,
"And I lying here?
Oh! why will these mothers
Step out of their sphere?
If ever I needed good nursing 'tis now,
And your masculine paw, sir, it scratches my brow.
I need some one gentle—more gentle than air—
O father! I fear
I am injured in here."
And our frog pressed his heart in the deepest despair.
"Now, bear up, my son," cried the sorrowing Gluck.
"See! the doctor is coming. He'll bring us good luck.
By my croak! but it's Paff, the conceited old buck."
Then, quick to the doctor,
"My child! Is he killed?
Oh! save me my son
From the phaeton spilled.
Haste! give me the lotion! I'll pour it on here."
"No, no," moaned the patient, "I can't have him near,
His rubbing is torture. I'd rather be hung.
Dear doctor, he's rough—
He's nursed me enough—
Oh! send little Eng for that oldest Miss Gung."

Then outspake the uncle, with wrath in his face,
And a grunt of denial that filled all the place,
"No, no, Master Gluck, I'll attend to your case,
Humph! nursing indeed!
You've called me too late.
In less than an hour, sir,
We'll lay you out straight.
No Miss Gung shall you have. Her father's my friend.
If you'd done as you ought—Never mind. I intend
To have all my sons, cousin Gluck, marry early.
Had my patient seen fit
To wed, I'll admit
He might have been saved," said this doctor so surly.
And then, while our hero lay moaning with pain,
And his father kept rubbing and fussing in vain,
The doctor continued, in furious strain,
"This accident—humph!
Cousin Gluck, on my word,
With a family team, sir,
Would not have occurred.
This thinking and plotting for self all the while,
And frisking about, sir, in bachelor style,
With no one to nurse you when hurt, sir, don't pay."
"Good doctor," moaned froggy,
"It isn't too late,
Even now she'd consent
To soften my fate.
Oh Eng! dear, run off for Miss Gung, right away."

These words were his last. He never moved more,
But lay through the starlight, all fainting and sore
(And those weary night-watchers, how rasping their snore)!
In the morning they found him
Stretched out stiff and stark—
He had died all alone
In the cold and the dark.
The chord of existence had snapt, they averred,
In trying to utter one sweet little word.
And, as over his body his weeping sire hung,
'Twas plain to be seen,
From that mouth's very mien,
That the last mournful sound of his life had been—Gung!

Oh! gentlemen far, and gentlemen near,
And striplings fair, and children dear,
Be warned by the mournful tale, heigho!
Of the frog who wouldn't a-wooing go.

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